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Blue Jasmine

Blue Jasmine

One thing I was not really fair to, to my experience of Elysium, is how impressed I was by how it accurately conveyed, that if you're not amongst those essentially expected to live as if there is no constraint upon them—all smiles, celebrations, new restaurants, and "isn't life the greatest!"—are outside the fortuned 1%, if you ever dared offering up any sass, any reflection about how you truly feel, you'll follow it with a thousand embarrassing surrenders to whatever authorities might expect of you, hoping that way to abet an executioner's suddenly raised strike from tilting to ultimately fall down on you, and cast you out from a life that still has the bearing of relevance, however spit upon and dim a one. There's a worse fate than being a factory worker at a job-place that truly believes not a one of them is particularly valuable in what he does, each one to be replaced by another, if need be, as can any newly purchased tool be schlepped in to replace a lost one. If you somehow still seem part of a story, can count yourself part of something, inclusion and purpose can keep you sane. If you're outside of one, with the world around you moving with purpose, there's no socially acceptable narrative for you to count as your own in which to unconsciously share and funnel your perplexing life afflictions into, and they just keep popping up, your insufficiently addressed life afflictions, all the time, at scary conscious level, and are alone to you. And if your being in sync to no one means the like of you suddenly rehearsing something you said, or something someone else said, out loud, you're going to tether out pretty close to crazy-town for most people, which in today's world will bring not empathy but shock "therapy," to kill that strange buzzing aberration dead that appeared rather startlingly out there on the street to affront us.

The tragedy of Jasmine, is that she has acuity, some potential to articulate precisely how things are, which with the help of her summoned kindness can take other people out of life patterns that are "solutions" which enable them to live, but which themselves cry out to be solved as well. Almost as soon as she lands on her sister's doorstep, she knows her sister's life, her friends, her community, fully rightly. She's stumbled into a morass, but one that if she hangs on tight and bears it to the best of her ability, will bear her enough so she can evolve the extenuations required to finally once again get some full bracing against the world. She might try applying herself to her surroundings, but since up close they're befudging nullity, which brings to the person who is able to summon considerable momentum to understanding them the feeling of having summoned a great wave that'll break its barrier with so little resistance it now requires its own taxing down, the solution is better to drink when she has to, Xanex herself when she has to, and just gain the proclivity necessary to downscale the nerve-stressing constant attenuations of a help center-type job, so she can build up the protein-juice resources inside herself from which promising extenuations might eventually sprout.

She has terrible luck. The one thing that could still get her once she has recuperated sufficiently from her past’s great heave of traumas and developed the ability to work as a receptionist--and so survive regardless if her sister stopped hosting her--was if something arrived that looked to instantly take her away from this life—make it all seem like some extra-long but still now forever gone nightmare, into which she was insanely transported but now from which she has neatly danced her way out. And with her meeting Peter Saarsgard's Dwight, she goes all-in with this perfect way out. When she accidently meets her sister's former husband on the street, we see what this way out would have cost her. Caught out, she can in instant defense show how alive she can be to other people's motivations, and seem instantly adult. But since this means having to reckon with things she did—horrible things, like losing a deserving hard-working man’s very realistic opportunity for a more enfranchised life; like in a moment of venom alerting authorities about something she was always at some level aware of but hadn’t blown the whistle on until it seemed perfect spite, which killed her husband, spiraled her son into thinking a forgotten cave is better than spending one moment further outside, and undid her whole life—she can't help but take the bait to be as if still ordained by a rigid law of the universe to recover to be the Blue-Jasmine, perfect-princess again.

At the end she's on the street, dead eyes, and babbling. Somewhere on the horizon a crew will soon appear to diagnose her as needing to have her head shocked from one planet to the next, leaving her in a permanent daze, puddling drool down the front of her cream blouse and Chanel jacket. But it's appropriate she just gives up. The universe clearly has it in for her. She was right that her sister would find for herself a better mate once she judged herself worth a bit better, but her first magical try with this ended so traumatizingly she ensconced herself even harder with what—thank god!—was still available to her. This meant Jasmine's presence would be thereafter a reminder of a conscious decision on her part to force herself to believe this was whom she was naturally right for. This meant Jasmine—who reflects back at her now, clearly justified mockery—would have to be out of her life hard. Jasmine couldn't pick herself up from this, and go back to the certainly plausible and now already partly traveled path of becoming a decorator, because sometimes you're just handed too many blows, and you've got to just sit down, give up, and let yourself be broken down by the universe to be reconstituted into something which actually has purpose. (The only salve temporarily available to you is that you might humorously blow at the ants taking bits of you away, like Ron Perlman's puffing at the legion of flames already up the wood-ladder and eating at him in Name of the Rose, so a clearly humorless God has the humiliation of having to chow down on some farce before he takes you.) We felt for her when she—so long a time a natural denizen of the most sophisticated rich—was brought down to being a sales clerk serving her former friends, which is like becoming a maid-servant after having once been a duchess—is usually a kind of humiliation you're made to suffer just before being executed, like being raped. Truly, it’s amazing she managed. We certainly knew what she meant when, after being accosted and groped by her dentist boss, someone she had expended every frenzied effort to communicate was not someone she wanted to get intimate with, she just couldn't bear to take to court. We knew how she felt when she requested more silence and solitude in her sister's home, with her really, truly, having expended every effort to make this a last-ditch recourse—her ability to neuter down her own proclivity to just arrogantly own whatever space around her, had been commendable: her sister needed to speak up then, and the guys needed to go to the bar instead—any recourse away from that would have been universal indignity. 

The universe moves on, and eventually society recovers its poise and actually cares about people again. This becomes a time for true therapy, where if you babble to yourself so you are aware of the specific instances which afflict you, this is actually an asset therapists would use to make sure they zero in on you more precisely—it’s like being able to describe your dreams with precision. This becomes a time that the story to be told when someone like Jasmine falls into your life, is how she, despite her flaws, improved you for the better, before she hefted herself off to a world she after all was more natural to: more Mary Poppins—or better, Cold Comfort Farm. The problem with purges of the kind we’re experiencing now, is that it’s going to leave us with fewer Jasmines when we’re actually in mind to appreciate them. Seriously, a good number of our babblers are actually going to be amongst our best, but just tragically untethered from madnesses we use with proficiency to assure ourselves sane--like what happened to Fitzgerald in the '30s, when a world thought things like fascism sane.


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